Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director who brought us Love & Basketball, feels like she's experienced firsthand the rules that Hollywood decision-makers live by when deciding what kind of people will watch certain films.
Those decision-makers also include online distribution engines like Netflix.
Prince-Bythewood was on Netflix, and in the "more like this" section related to her 2014 film, Beyond the Lights, she saw that there were only "black" films and TV shows listed—that is, movies and series with a predominantly African-American cast. Stuff like Being Mary Jane, The Favorite Five, Pastor Brown, A Mother’s Love and A Different World.
Beyond the Lights is a romantic drama that pivots around the lives of a professional singer and her bodyguard, so why, Prince-Bythewood argued via tweets, didn't other romantic films appear in its "more like this" section?
It's concrete evidence of how executives don't think twice about grouping certain movies together based purely on race. Their assumption that white people won't be interested in films that have African Americans in lead roles is telling, and sad.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features expert advice with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.